Gmail is a free email service developed by Google. Users can access Gmail on the web and using third-party programs that synchronize email content through POP or IMAP protocols. Gmail started as a limited beta release on April 1, 2004 and ended its testing phase on July 7, 2009.

At launch, Gmail had an initial storage capacity offer of one gigabyte per user, a significantly higher amount than competitors offered at the time. Today, the service comes with 15 gigabytes of storage. Users can receive emails up to 50 megabytes in size, including attachments, while they can send emails up to 25 megabytes. In order to send larger files, users can insert files from Google Drive into the message. Gmail has a search-oriented interface and a "conversation view" similar to an Internet forum. The service is notable among website developers for its early adoption of Ajax.

Google's mail servers automatically scan emails for multiple purposes, including to filter spam and malware, and to add context-sensitive advertisements next to emails. This advertising practice has been significantly criticized by privacy advocates due to concerns over unlimited data retention, ease of monitoring by third parties, users of other email providers not having agreed to the policy upon sending emails to Gmail addresses, and the potential for Google to change its policies to further decrease privacy by combining information with other Google data usage. The company has been the subject of lawsuits concerning the issues. Google has stated that email users must "necessarily expect" their emails to be subject to automated processing and claims that the service refrains from displaying ads next to potentially sensitive messages, such as those mentioning race, religion, sexual orientation, health, or financial statements. In June 2017, Google announced the upcoming end to the use of contextual Gmail content for advertising purposes, relying instead on data gathered from the use of its other services.[4]

By February 2016, Gmail had one billion active users worldwide.[5]

Gmail Icon
Gmail screenshot
A screenshot of a Gmail inbox and compose box
Type of site
Available in105 languages
OwnerGoogle LLC (subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.)
Created byPaul Buchheit
Users1.4 billion (April 2018)[1][2]
LaunchedApril 1, 2004
Current statusActive
Content license
Written inJava (back-end), JavaScript/Ajax (UI)[3]



Gmail 2004
The Gmail webmail interface as it originally appeared

On April 1, 2004, Gmail was launched with one gigabyte (GB) of storage space, a significantly higher amount than competitors offered at the time.[6]

On April 1, 2005, the first anniversary of Gmail, the limit was doubled to two gigabytes of storage. Georges Harik, the product management director for Gmail, stated that Google would "keep giving people more space forever."[7]

On April 24, 2012, Google announced the increase of storage included in Gmail from 7.5 to 10 gigabytes ("and counting") as part of the launch of Google Drive.[8]

On May 13, 2013, Google announced the overall merge of storage across Gmail, Google Drive, and Google+ Photos, allowing users 15 gigabytes of included storage among the three services.[9][10]

Users can buy additional storage, shared among Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos, through a monthly subscription plan from Google One. As of 2018, storage of up to 15 gigabytes is included, and paid plans are available for up to 30 terabytes for personal use.[11]

There are also storage limits to individual Gmail messages. One message, including all attachments, cannot be larger than 25 megabytes.[12] This was changed in March 2017, to allow receiving of email up to 50 megabytes, with the limit for sending email staying at 25 megabytes.[13][14] In order to send larger files, users can insert files from Google Drive into the message.[15]


The Gmail user interface initially differed from other webmail systems with its focus on search and conversation threading of emails, grouping several messages between two or more people onto a single page, an approach that was later copied by its competitors. Gmail's user interface designer, Kevin Fox, intended users to feel as if they were always on one page and just changing things on that page, rather than having to navigate to other places.[16]

Gmail's interface also makes use of 'labels' (tags) – that replace the conventional folders and provide a more flexible method of organizing email; filters for automatically organizing, deleting or forwarding incoming emails to other addresses; and importance markers for automatically marking messages as 'important'.

2011 redesign

In November 2011, Google began rolling out a redesign of its interface that "simplified" the look of Gmail into a more minimalist design to provide a more consistent look throughout its products and services as part of an overall Google design change. Major redesigned elements included a streamlined conversation view, configurable density of information, new higher-quality themes, a resizable navigation bar with always-visible labels and contacts, and better search.[17][18] Users were able to preview the new interface design for months prior to the official release, as well as revert to the old interface, until March 2012, when Google discontinued the ability to revert and completed the transition to the new design for all users.[19]

Tabbed inbox

In May 2013, Google updated the Gmail inbox with tabs which allow the application to categorize the user's emails. The five tabs are: Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums. In addition to customization options, the entire update can be disabled, allowing users to return to the traditional inbox structure.[20][21]

2018 redesign

In April 2018, Google introduced a new web UI for Gmail. The new redesign follows Google's Material Design, and changes in user interface include the use of Google's Product Sans font. Other updates include a Confidential mode, which allows the sender to set an expiration date for a sensitive message or to revoke it entirely, integrated rights management and two-factor authentication.[22]

Spam filter

Gmail's spam filtering features a community-driven system: when any user marks an email as spam, this provides information to help the system identify similar future messages for all Gmail users.[23]

In the April 2018 update, the spam filtering banners got a redesign, with bigger and bolder lettering.

Gmail Labs

The Gmail Labs feature, introduced on June 5, 2008, allows users to test new or experimental features of Gmail. Users can enable or disable Labs features selectively and provide feedback about each of them. This allows Gmail engineers to obtain user input about new features to improve them and also to assess their popularity.[24]

Popular features, like the "Undo Send" option, often "graduate" from Gmail Labs to become a formal setting in Gmail.[25]

All Labs features are experimental and are subject to termination at any time.[26]


Gmail incorporates a search bar for searching emails. The search bar can also search contacts, files stored in Google Drive, events from Google Calendar, and Google Sites.[27][28][29]

In May 2012, Gmail improved the search functionality to include auto-complete predictions from the user's emails.[30]

Gmail's search functionality does not support searching for word fragments (also known as 'substring search' or partial word search). Workarounds exist.[30]

Language support

Gmail inbox in Japanese
Gmail supports multiple languages, including the Japanese interface shown here

As of March 2015, the Gmail interface supports 72 languages, including: Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (UK), English (US), Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Malayalam, Marathi, Norwegian (Bokmål), Odia, Polish, Punjabi, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog (Filipino), Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh and Zulu.[31]

Language input styles

In October 2012, Google added over 100 virtual keyboards, transliterations, and input method editors to Gmail, enabling users different types of input styles for different languages in an effort to help users write in languages that aren't "limited by the language of your keyboard.”[32][33]

In October 2013, Google added handwriting input support to Gmail.[34]

In August 2014, Gmail became the first major email provider to let users send and receive email from addresses with accent marks and letters from outside the Latin alphabet.[35][36]


Web browsers

Gmail's "basic HTML" version will work on almost all browsers. The modern AJAX version is officially supported in the current and previous major releases of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge and Safari web browsers on a rolling basis.[37][38]

In August 2011, Google introduced Gmail Offline, an HTML5-powered app for providing access to the service while offline. Gmail Offline runs on the Google Chrome browser and can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store.[39][40][41]

In addition to the native apps on iOS and Android, users can access Gmail through the web browser on a mobile device.[42]


Gmail mobile screenshot
Gmail running on Android

Gmail has native applications for iOS devices[43] (including iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) and for Android devices.[44]

In November 2014, Google introduced functionality in the Gmail Android app that enabled sending and receiving email from non-Gmail addresses (such as Yahoo! Mail and through POP or IMAP.[45]

In November 2016, Google redesigned the Gmail app for the iOS platform, bringing the first complete visual overhaul in "nearly four years". The update added much more use of colors, sleeker transitions, and the addition of several "highly-requested" features, including Undo Send, faster search with instant results and spelling suggestions, and Swipe to Archive/Delete.[46][47]

In May 2017, Google updated Gmail on Android to feature protection from phishing attacks.[48][49][50] Media outlets noticed that the new protection was announced amid a widespread phishing attack on a combination of Gmail and Google's Docs document service that occurred on the same day.[49][50]

Later in May, Google announced the addition of "Smart Reply" to Gmail on Android and iOS. "Smart Reply", a feature originally launched for Google's Inbox by Gmail service, scans a message for information and uses machine intelligence to offer three responses the user can optionally edit and send. The feature is limited to the English language at launch, with upcoming support for Spanish, followed by other languages later.[51][52]

Inbox by Gmail, another app from the Gmail team, is also available for iOS[53] and Android[54] devices.

Third-party programs can be used to access Gmail, using the POP or IMAP protocols.[55]

Inbox by Gmail

In October 2014, Google introduced Inbox by Gmail on an invitation-only basis. Developed by the Gmail team, but serving as a "completely different type of inbox", the service is made to help users deal with the challenges of an active email. Citing issues such as distractions, difficulty in finding important information buried in messages, and receiving more emails than ever, Inbox by Gmail has several important differences from Gmail, including bundles that automatically sort emails of the same topic together, highlights that surface key information from messages, and reminders, assists, and snooze, that help the user in handling incoming emails at appropriate times.[56][57][58]

Inbox by Gmail became publicly available in May 2015.[59] In September 2018, Google announced it would end the service in March 2019, most of its key features having been incorporated into the standard Gmail service.[60]

Integration with Google products

In August 2010, Google released a plugin that provides integrated telephone service within Gmail's Google Chat interface. The feature initially lacked an official name, with Google referring to it as both "Google Voice in Gmail chat" and "Call Phones in Gmail".[61][62][63] The service logged over one million calls in 24 hours.[63][64] In March 2014, Google Voice was discontinued, and replaced with functionality from Google Hangouts, another communication platform from Google.[65][66]

On February 9, 2010, Google commenced its new social networking tool, Google Buzz, which integrated with Gmail, allowing users to share links and media, as well as status updates.[67] Google Buzz was discontinued in October 2011, replaced with new functionality in Google+, Google's then-new social networking platform.[68][69]

Gmail was integrated with Google+ in December 2011, as part of an effort to have all Google information across one Google account, with a centralized Google+ user profile.[70] Backlash from the move caused Google to step back and remove the requirement of a Google+ user account, keeping only a private Google account without a public-facing profile, starting in July 2015.[71]

In May 2013, Google announced the integration between Google Wallet and Gmail, which would allow Gmail users to send money as email attachments. Although the sender must use a Gmail account, the recipient does not need to be using a Gmail address.[72][73] The feature has no transaction fees, but there are limits to amount of money that can be sent.[74] Initially only available on the web, the feature was expanded to the Android app in March 2017, for people living in the United States.[75][76]

In September 2016, Google released Google Trips, an app that, based on information from a user's Gmail messages, automatically generates travel cards. A travel card contains itinerary details, such as plane tickets and car rentals, and recommends activities, food and drinks, and attractions based on location, time, and interests. The app also has offline functionality.[77][78] In April 2017, Google Trips received an update adding several significant features. The app now also scans Gmail for bus and train tickets, and allows users to manually input trip reservations. Users can send trip details to other users' email, and if the recipient also has Google Trips, the information will be automatically available in their apps as well.[79][80]



Google has supported secure HTTPS since the day it launched. In the beginning, it was only default on the login page, a reason that Google engineer Ariel Rideout stated was because HTTPS made "your mail slower". However, users could manually switch to secure HTTPS mode inside the inbox after logging in. In July 2008, Google simplified the ability to manually enable secure mode, with a toggle in the settings menu.[81]

In 2007, Google fixed a cross-site scripting security issue that could let attackers collect information from Gmail contact lists.[82]

In January 2010, Google began rolling out HTTPS as the default for all users.[83]

In June 2012, a new security feature was introduced to protect users from state-sponsored attacks. A banner will appear at the top of the page that warns users of an unauthorized account compromise.[84][85]

In March 2014, Google announced that an encrypted HTTPS connection will be used for the sending and receiving of all Gmail emails, and "every single email message you send or receive —100% of them —is encrypted while moving internally" through the company's systems.[86]

Whenever possible, Gmail uses transport layer security (TLS) to automatically encrypt emails sent and received. On the web and on Android devices, users can check if a message is encrypted by checking if the message has a closed or open red padlock.[87]

Gmail automatically scans all incoming and outgoing e-mails for viruses in email attachments. For security reasons, some file types, including executables, are not allowed to be sent in emails.[88]

At the end of May 2017, Google announced that it had applied machine learning technology to identify emails with phishing and spam, having a 99.9% detection accuracy. The company also announced that Gmail would selectively delay some messages, approximately 0.05% of all, to perform more detailed analysis and aggregate details to improve its algorithms.[89][90]

Third-party encryption in transit

Gmail transport encryption by country

In Google's Transparency Report under the Safer email section, it provides information on the percentage of emails encrypted in transit between Gmail and third-party email providers.[91]

Two-step verification

Gmail supports two-step verification, an optional additional measure for users to protect their accounts when logging in.[92]

Once enabled, users are required to verify their identity using a second method after entering their username and password when logging in on a new device. Common methods include entering a code sent to a user's mobile phone through a text message, entering a code using the Google Authenticator smartphone app, or by inserting a physical security key into the computer's USB port.[93]

Using a security key for two-step verification was made available as an option in October 2014.[94][95]

24-hour lockdowns

If an algorithm detects what Google calls "abnormal usage that may indicate that your account has been compromised", the account can be automatically locked down for between one minute and 24 hours, depending on the type of activity detected. Listed reasons for a lock-down include:[96]

  • "Receiving, deleting, or downloading large amounts of mail via POP or IMAP in a short period of time. If you're getting the error message, 'Lockdown in Sector 4,' you should be able to access Gmail again after waiting 24 hours."
  • "Sending a large number of undeliverable messages (messages that bounce back)."
  • "Using file-sharing or file-storage software, browser extensions, or third-party software that automatically logs into your account."
  • "Leaving multiple instances of Gmail open."
  • "Browser-related issues. Please note that if you find your browser continually reloading while attempting to access your Inbox, it's probably a browser issue, and it may be necessary to clear your browser's cache and cookies."

Anti child pornography policy

Google combats child pornography through Gmail's servers in conjunction with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to find children suffering abuse around the world. In collaboration with the NCMEC, Google creates a database of child pornography pictures. Each one of the images is given a unique numerical number known as a hash. Google then scans Gmail looking for the unique hashes. When suspicious images are located Google reports the incident to the appropriate national authorities.[97]


The idea for Gmail was developed by Paul Buchheit several years before it was announced to the public. The project was known by the code name Caribou. During early development, the project was kept secret from most of Google's own engineers. This changed once the project became better and better, and by early 2004, almost everybody was using it to access the company's internal email system.[98]

Gmail was announced to the public by Google on April 1, 2004 as a limited beta release.[99]

In November 2006, Google began offering a Java-based application of Gmail for mobile phones.[100]

In October 2007, Google began a process of rewriting parts of the code that Gmail used, which would make the service faster and add new features, such as custom keyboard shortcuts and the ability to bookmark specific messages and email searches.[101] Gmail also added IMAP support in October 2007.[102]

An update around January 2008 changed elements of Gmail's use of JavaScript, and resulted in the failure of a third-party script some users had been using. Google acknowledge the issue and helped users with workarounds.[103]

Gmail exited the beta status on July 7, 2009.[104]

Prior to December 2013, users had to approve to see images in emails, which acted as a security measure. This changed in December 2013, when Google, citing improved image handling, enabled images to be visible without user approval. Images will be routed through Google's secure proxy servers rather than the original external host servers.[105] MarketingLand noted that the change to image handling means email marketers will no longer be able to track the recipient's IP address or information about what kind of device the recipient is using.[106] However, Wired stated that the new change means senders can track the time when an email is first opened, as the initial loading of the images requires the system to make a "callback" to the original server.[107]


In June 2012, Google announced that Gmail had 425 million active users globally.[108] In May 2015, Google announced that Gmail had 900 million active users, 75% of whom were using the service on mobile devices.[109] In February 2016, Google announced that Gmail had passed 1 billion active users.[5][110] In July 2017, Google announced that Gmail had passed 1.2 billion active users.[1][111]

In the business sector, Quartz reported in August 2014 that, among 150 companies checked in three major categories in the United States (Fortune 50 largest companies, mid-size tech and media companies, and startup companies from the last Y Combinator incubator class), only one Fortune 50 company used Gmail – Google itself – while 60% of mid-sized companies and 92% of startup companies were using Gmail.[112]

In May 2014, Gmail became the first app on the Google Play Store to hit one billion installations on Android devices.[113]

G Suite

As part of G Suite, Google's business-focused offering, Gmail comes with additional features, including:[114]

  • Email addresses with the customer's domain name (
  • 99.9% guaranteed uptime with zero scheduled downtime for maintenance[115]
  • Either 30 GB or unlimited storage shared with Google Drive, depending on the plan
  • 24/7 phone and email support
  • Synchronization compatibility with Microsoft Outlook and other email providers
  • Support for add-ons that integrate third-party apps purchased from the G Suite Marketplace with Gmail[116][117][118]


Gmail is noted by web developers for its early adoption of Ajax.[119]


Gmail was ranked second in PC World's "100 Best Products of 2005", behind Mozilla Firefox. Gmail also won 'Honorable Mention' in the Bottom Line Design Awards 2005.[120][121] In September 2006, Forbes declared Gmail to be the best webmail application for small businesses.[122] In November 2006, Gmail received PC World's 4 star rating.[123]



Google has one privacy policy that covers all of its services.[124]

Google claims that Gmail refrains from displaying ads next to potentially sensitive messages, such as those that mention race, religion, sexual orientation, health, or financial statements.[125]

Automated scanning of email content

Google's mail servers automatically scan emails for multiple purposes, including to add context-sensitive advertisements next to emails, and to filter spam and malware.[126][127][128]

Privacy advocates raised concerns about this practice; concerns included that allowing email content to be read by a machine (as opposed to a person) can allow Google to keep unlimited amounts of information forever; the automated background scanning of data raises the risk that the expectation of privacy in email usage will be reduced or eroded; information collected from emails could be retained by Google for years after its current relevancy to build complete profiles on users; emails sent by users from other email providers get scanned despite never having agreed to Google's privacy policy or terms of service; Google can change its privacy policy unilaterally, and for minor changes to the policy it can do so without informing users; in court cases, governments and organizations can potentially find it easier to legally monitor email communications; at any time, Google can change its current company policies to allow combining information from emails with data gathered from use of its other services; and any internal security problem on Google's systems can potentially expose many – or all – of its users.[126][128][127][129][130]

In 2004, thirty-one privacy and civil liberties organizations wrote a letter calling upon Google to suspend its Gmail service until the privacy issues were adequately addressed. The letter also called upon Google to clarify its written information policies regarding data retention and data sharing among its business units. The organizations also voiced their concerns about Google's plan to scan the text of all incoming messages for the purposes of ad placement, noting that the scanning of confidential email for inserting third-party ad content violates the implicit trust of an email service provider.[128]

On June 23, 2017, Google announced that, later in 2017, it will phase out the scanning of email content to generate contextual advertising, relying on personal data collected through other Google services instead. The company stated that this change was meant to clarify its practices and quell concerns among enterprise G Suite customers who felt an ambiguous distinction between the free consumer and paid professional variants, the latter being advertising-free.[4][131]


In March 2011, a former Gmail user in Texas sued Google, claiming that its Gmail service violates users' privacy by scanning e-mail messages to serve relevant ads.[132]

In July 2012, some California residents filed two class action lawsuits against Google and Yahoo!, claiming that they illegally intercept emails sent by individual non-Gmail or non-Yahoo! email users to Gmail and Yahoo! recipients without the senders' knowledge, consent or permission.[133] A motion filed by Google's attorneys in the case concedes that Gmail users have "no expectation of privacy".[134]

A court filing uncovered by advocacy group Consumer Watchdog in August 2013 revealed that Google stated in a court filing that no "reasonable expectation" exists among Gmail users in regard to the assured confidentiality of their emails.[135] In response to a lawsuit filed in May 2013, Google explained:

"... all users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automated processing ...  Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient's assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipient's ECS [electronic communications service] provider in the course of delivery.[135]

A Google spokesperson stated to the media on August 15, 2013 that the corporation takes the privacy and security concerns of Gmail users "very seriously."[135]

April 2014 Terms of service update

Google updated its terms of service for Gmail in April 2014 to create full transparency for its users in regard to the scanning of email content. The relevant revision states: "Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored." A Google spokesperson explained that the corporation wishes for its policies "to be simple and easy for users to understand."

In response to the update, Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, stated: "The really dangerous things that Google is doing are things like the information held in Analytics, cookies in advertising and the profiling that it is able to do on individual accounts".[127]

Microsoft ad campaign against Google

In 2013, Microsoft launched an advertising campaign to attack Google for scanning email messages, arguing that most consumers are not aware that Google monitors their personal messages to deliver targeted ads. Microsoft claims that its email service Outlook does not scan the contents of messages and a Microsoft spokesperson called the issue of privacy "Google's kryptonite." In response, Google stated; "We work hard to make sure that ads are safe, unobtrusive and relevant ... No humans read your e-mail or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information. An automated algorithm — similar to that used for features like Priority Inbox or spam filtering — determines which ads are shown.” The New York Times cites "Google supporters", who say that "Microsoft's ads are distasteful, the last resort of a company that has been unsuccessful at competing against Google on the more noble battleground of products".[136]

Other privacy issues

2010 attack from China

In January 2010, Google detected a "highly sophisticated" cyber-attack on its infrastructure that originated from China. The targets of the attack were Chinese human rights activists, but Google discovered that accounts belonging to European, American and Chinese activists for human rights in China had been "routinely accessed by third parties". Additionally, Google stated that their investigation revealed that "at least" 20 other large companies from a "wide range of businesses" - including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors – had been similarly targeted. Google was in the process of notifying those companies and it was also working with relevant US authorities. In light of the attacks, Google enhanced the security and architecture of its infrastructure, and advised individual users to install anti-virus and anti-spyware on their computers, update their operating systems and web browsers, and be cautious when clicking on Internet links or when sharing personal information in instant messages and emails.[137][138]

Social network integration

The February 2010 launch of Google Buzz, a former social network that was linked to Gmail, immediately drew criticism for publicly sharing details of users' contacts unless the default settings were changed.[139][140] A new Gmail feature was launched in January 2014, whereby users can email people with Google+ accounts even though they do not know the email address of the recipient. Marc Rotenberg, President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, called the feature "troubling", and compared it to the Google Buzz initial launch privacy flaw.[141]

Update to DoubleClick privacy policy

In June 2016, Julia Angwin of ProPublica wrote about Google's updated privacy policy, which deleted a clause that had stated Google would not combine DoubleClick web browsing cookie information with personally identifiable information from its other services. This change has allowed Google to merge users' personally identifiable information from different Google services to create one unified ad profile for each user. After publication of the article, Google reached out to ProPublica to say that the merge would not include Gmail keywords in ad targeting.[142]


Gmail suffered at least seven outages in 2009 alone, causing doubts about the reliability of its service.[143][144] It suffered a new outage on February 28, 2011, in which a bug caused Gmail accounts to be empty. Google stated in a blog post that "email was never lost" and restoration was in progress.[145] Another outage occurred on April 17, 2012,[146] September 24, 2013,[147] January 24, 2014.[148] and January 29, 2019.[149]

Google has stated that "Gmail remains more than 99.9% available to all users, and we're committed to keeping events like today's notable for their rarity."[150]

"On behalf of" tag

In May 2009, Farhad Manjoo wrote on The New York Times blog about Gmail's "on behalf of" tag. Manjoo explained: "The problems is, when you try to send outbound mail from your Gmail universal inbox, Gmail adds a tag telling your recipients that you're actually using Gmail and not your office e-mail. If your recipient is using Microsoft Outlook, he'll see a message like, 'From on behalf of'" Manjoo further wrote that "Google explains that it adds the tag in order to prevent your e-mail from being considered spam by your recipient; the theory is that if the e-mail is honest about its origins, it shouldn't arouse suspicion by spam checking software".[151] The following July, Google announced a new option that would remove the "On behalf of" tag, by sending the email from the server of the other email address instead of using Gmail's servers.[152]

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External links

G Suite

G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work and Google Apps for Your Domain) is a brand of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools, software and products developed by Google, first launched on August 28, 2006 as "Google Apps for Your Domain". G Suite comprises Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, and Google+ for communication; Drive for storage; Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Sites for collaboration; and, depending on the plan, an Admin panel and Vault for managing users and the services. It also includes the digital interactive whiteboard Jamboard and the app development platform App Maker.

While these services are free to use for consumers, G Suite adds enterprise features such as custom email addresses at a domain (, option for unlimited cloud storage (depending on plan and number of members), additional administrative tools and advanced settings, as well as 24/7 phone and email support.Being based in Google's data centers, data and information is saved instantly and then synchronized to other data centers for backup purposes. Unlike the free, consumer-facing services, G Suite users do not see advertisements while using the services, and information and data in G Suite accounts do not get used for advertisement purposes. Furthermore, G Suite administrators can fine-tune security and privacy settings.

As of January 2017, G Suite has 4 million paying businesses, and 70 million G Suite for Education users.


GmailFS is a virtual file system originally developed by Richard Jones that uses a Gmail e-mail account for storage. GmailFS is written for Linux, but Windows and OS X ports exist too. It originally was based on underlying SMTP and POP3 interaction with Gmail. Since May 16, 2010, a fork exists that uses IMAP.

It works by building a filesystem with the Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE) loadable kernel module, and manages communication with Gmail through a special purpose Python library called libgmail. The actual GmailFS is also implemented in Python.

The speed of this filesystem is limited by the speed of the user's Internet connection, and the upload/download speed of the Gmail server. Files can be any size, and are stored as (segmented) attachments.

The Official website news dated 13 December 2009, says "Unfortunately the GmailFS project has come to an end. libgmail has ceased being maintained by its developers, and as a result libgmail no longer works with the latest Gmail interface (and has not done so for many weeks). Without a working libgmail, GmailFS does not function, so the end of libgmail also spells the end of GmailFS."

Gmail interface

The Gmail interface makes Gmail unique amongst webmail systems for several reasons. Most evident to users are its search-oriented features and means of managing e-mail in a "conversation view" that is similar to an Internet forum.

An official redesign of the Gmail interface was rolled out on November 1, 2011 that simplified the look and feel of Gmail into a more minimalist design to provide a more consistent look throughout Google products and services as part of an overall design change. Another major redesign took place April 2018 which introduced new information rights management controls designed for business use cases.


Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies, alongside Amazon, Apple and Facebook.Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University in California. Together they own about 14 percent of its shares and control 56 percent of the stockholder voting power through supervoting stock. They incorporated Google as a privately held company on September 4, 1998. An initial public offering (IPO) took place on August 19, 2004, and Google moved to its headquarters in Mountain View, California, nicknamed the Googleplex. In August 2015, Google announced plans to reorganize its various interests as a conglomerate called Alphabet Inc. Google is Alphabet's leading subsidiary and will continue to be the umbrella company for Alphabet's Internet interests. Sundar Pichai was appointed CEO of Google, replacing Larry Page who became the CEO of Alphabet.

The company's rapid growth since incorporation has triggered a chain of products, acquisitions, and partnerships beyond Google's core search engine (Google Search). It offers services designed for work and productivity (Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides), email (Gmail/Inbox), scheduling and time management (Google Calendar), cloud storage (Google Drive), social networking (Google+), instant messaging and video chat (Google Allo, Duo, Hangouts), language translation (Google Translate), mapping and navigation (Google Maps, Waze, Google Earth, Street View), video sharing (YouTube), note-taking (Google Keep), and photo organizing and editing (Google Photos). The company leads the development of the Android mobile operating system, the Google Chrome web browser, and Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system based on the Chrome browser. Google has moved increasingly into hardware; from 2010 to 2015, it partnered with major electronics manufacturers in the production of its Nexus devices, and it released multiple hardware products in October 2016, including the Google Pixel smartphone, Google Home smart speaker, Google Wifi mesh wireless router, and Google Daydream virtual reality headset. Google has also experimented with becoming an Internet carrier (Google Fiber, Project Fi, and Google Station) is the most visited website in the world. Several other Google services also figure in the top 100 most visited websites, including YouTube and Blogger. Google is the most valuable brand in the world as of 2017, but has received significant criticism involving issues such as privacy concerns, tax avoidance, antitrust, censorship, and search neutrality. Google's mission statement is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful", and its unofficial slogan was "Don't be evil" until the phrase was removed from the company's code of conduct around May 2018.

Google Account

A Google Account is a user account that is required for access, authentication and authorization to certain online Google services.

Google Buzz

Google Buzz was a social networking, microblogging and messaging tool that was developed by Google and integrated into their web-based email program, Gmail. Users could share links, photos, videos, status messages and comments organized in "conversations" and visible in the user's inbox.On October 14, 2011, Google announced that it would discontinue the service and that the existing content would be available in read-only mode. Buzz was discontinued on December 15, 2011 and superseded by Google+.Buzz enabled users to choose to share publicly with the world or privately to a group of friends each time they posted. Picasa, Flickr, Google Latitude, Google Reader, Google Sidewiki, YouTube, Blogger, FriendFeed, and Twitter were integrated. The creation of Buzz was seen by industry analysts as an attempt by Google to compete with social networking websites like Facebook and microblogging services like Twitter. Buzz also included several user interface elements from other Google products (e.g., Google Reader), such as the ability to "like" a post.

Google executive Sergey Brin said that by offering social communications, Buzz would help bridge the gap between work and leisure, but the service was strongly criticized when it was introduced for insufficient attention to users' privacy.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a time-management and scheduling calendar service developed by Google. It became available in beta release April 13, 2006, and in general release in July 2009, on the web and as mobile apps for the Android and iOS platforms.

Google Calendar allows users to create and edit events. Reminders can be enabled for events, with options available for type and time. Event locations can also be added, and other users can be invited to events. Users can enable or disable the visibility of special calendars, including Birthdays, where the app retrieves dates of births from Google contacts and displays birthday cards on a yearly basis, and Holidays, a country-specific calendar that displays dates of special occasions. Over time, Google has added functionality that makes use of machine learning, including "Events from Gmail", where event information from a user's Gmail messages are automatically added to Google Calendar; "Reminders", where users add to-do activities that can be automatically updated with new information; "Smart Suggestions", where the app recommends titles, contacts, and locations when creating events; and "Goals", where users enter information on a specified personal goal, and the app automatically schedules the activity at optimal times.

Google Calendar's mobile apps have received polarized reviews. 2015 reviews of the Android and iOS apps both praised and criticized the design. While some critics praised the design for being "cleaner", "bold" and making use of "colorful graphics", other reviewers asserted that the graphics took up too much space. The Smart Suggestions feature was also liked and disliked, with varying levels of success in the app actually managing to suggest relevant information upon event creation. The integration between Google Calendar and Gmail was praised, however, with critics writing that "all of the relevant details are there".

Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a free web service developed by Google for schools that aim to simplify creating, distributing and grading assignments in a paperless way. The primary purpose of Google Classroom is to streamline the process of sharing files between teachers and students.Google Classroom combines Google Drive for assignment creation and distribution, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for writing, Gmail for communication, and Google Calendar for scheduling. Students can be invited to join a class through a private code, or automatically imported from a school domain. Each class creates a separate folder in the respective user's Drive, where the student can submit work to be a graded by a teacher. Mobile apps, available for iOS and Android devices, let users take photos and attach to assignments, share files from other apps, and access information offline. Teachers can monitor the progress for each student, and after being graded, teachers can return work along with comments.

Google Contacts

Google Contacts is Google's contact management tool that is available in its free email service Gmail, as a standalone service, and as a part of Google's business-oriented suite of web apps Google Apps.

Google Pay Send

Google Pay Send (formerly Google Wallet) is a peer-to-peer payments service developed by Google that allows people to send and receive money from a mobile device or desktop computer at no cost to either sender or receiver. When set up, a Google Pay account must be linked to an existing debit card or bank account in the United States or United Kingdom. Google Pay Send can be used through the Google Pay Send app and Gmail. The app is available for Android devices running Android 4.0 and above, and for iOS devices running iOS 7.0 and above.Since 2018, Android Pay and Google Wallet has unified into a single pay system called Google Pay. Google Pay Send, a feature included inside Google Pay, has replaced the Google Wallet service.

Google Sync

Google Sync was a file synchronization service from Google that provided over-the-air synchronization of Gmail, Google Contacts, and Google Calendar with PC and mobile device Mail, Calendar and Address Book applications. It used Microsoft® Exchange ActiveSync® to let service users synchronize their Google Apps mail, contacts, and calendars to their mobile devices, wherein the users can also set up or customize the alerts for incoming messages and upcoming meetings. Google Sync worked with PC, Mac, Linux, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian S60, iPhone, iPad, Windows Mobile, and other devices. Google Sync was announced in February 2009 and discontinued for non-business users in December 2012.

Google Takeout

Google Takeout (Google Takeaway in some languages, on the site itself called "Download your data") is a project by the Google Data Liberation Front that allows users of Google products, such as YouTube and Gmail, to export their data to a downloadable archive file.

Google Talk

Google Talk (also known as Google Chat) (now Google Hangouts) was an instant messaging service that provided both text and voice communication. The instant messaging service is colloquially known as "Gchat", "Gtalk", or "Gmessage" to its users.Google Talk was also the name of the client applications previously offered by Google to use the service. Google Talk applications were available for Microsoft Windows, Android, BlackBerry, and Chrome OS operating systems. A Google Talk mobile web app had also been previously available. In February 2015, the Windows client was discontinued and ceased to work, with Google recommending users to use Google Hangouts instead. Users of Windows client were instructed to migrate to the Google Hangouts app on the Chrome browser platform. It remained possible to connect to Google Talk with compatible third-party apps such as Pidgin and Gajim.Google dropped support for XMPP federation in May 2014, meaning that it no longer supports communicating with other XMPP servers. However, users can still chat with other non-Google Talk users using third-party XMPP clients such as Adium.

Google Voice

Google Voice is a telephone service that provides call forwarding and voicemail services, voice and text messaging, as well as U.S. and international call termination for Google Account customers in the U.S. and Canada. The service was launched by Google on March 11, 2009, after the company had acquired the service GrandCentral.

Google Voice provides a U.S. telephone number, chosen by the user from available numbers in selected area codes, free of charge to each user account. Calls to this number are forwarded to telephone numbers that each user must configure in the account web portal. Multiple destinations may be specified that ring simultaneously for incoming calls. Service establishment requires a United States telephone number. A user may answer and receive calls on any of the ringing phones as configured in the web portal. During a received call the user may switch between the configured telephones.Users in the U.S. may place outbound calls to domestic and international destinations. Calls may be initiated from any of the configured telephones, as well as from a mobile device app, or from the account portal. As of August 2011, users in many other countries also may place outbound calls from the web-based application to domestic and international phone numbers.Many other Google Voice services—such as voicemail, free text messaging, call history, conference calling, call screening, blocking of unwanted calls, and voice transcription to text of voicemail messages—are also available to U.S. residents. In terms of product integration, transcribed and audio voicemails, missed call notifications, and/or text messages can optionally be forwarded to an email account of the user's choice. Additionally, text messages can be sent and received via the familiar email or IM interface by reading and writing text messages in numbers in Google Talk respectively (PC-to-Phone texting). Google Voice multi-way videoconferencing (with support for document sharing) is now integrated with Google+ Hangouts.The service is configured and maintained by the user in a web-based application, styled after Google's e-mail service, Gmail, or with Android and iOS apps on smart phones or tablets. Google Voice currently provides free PC-to-phone calling within the United States and Canada, and PC-to-PC voice and video calling worldwide between users of the Google+ Hangouts browser plugin (available for Windows, Intel-based Mac OS X, and Linux).Almost all domestic and outbound calls to the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) and Canada are currently free from the U.S. and Canada, and $0.01 per minute from everywhere else. International calls are billed according to a schedule posted on the Google Voice website.Late in 2009, Google Voice had approximately 1.4 million users, of which 570,000 used the service 7 days a week. This number rose markedly after Google made the transition of its Google Voice service from "invitation only" to be available to all Gmail subscribers in the United States. A Wired blog post quoted a figure of 3.5 million in 2013.Google Account customers in most other countries other than the U.S. and Canada may only access the call termination services through the integration with Google Hangouts.

History of Gmail

The public history of Gmail dates back to 2004. Gmail, a free, advertising-supported webmail service with support for Email clients, is a product from Google. Over its history, the Gmail interface has become integrated with many other products and services from the company, with basic integration as part of Google Account and specific integration points with services such as Google+, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Hangouts, YouTube, and Google Buzz. It has also been made available as part of G Suite. The Official Gmail Blog tracks the public history of Gmail from July 2007.

Inbox by Gmail

Inbox by Gmail is an email service developed by Google. Announced in limited invitation-only basis on October 22, 2014, it was officially released to the public on May 28, 2015.

Available on the web, and through mobile apps for Android and iOS, Inbox by Gmail aims to improve email productivity and organization through several key features. Bundles gather emails of the same topic together, highlights surface key details from messages, and reminders, assists, and snooze functionality enable users to control when specific information appears. Updates to the service have enabled an undo send feature, a "Smart Reply" feature that automatically generates short reply examples for certain emails, integration with Google Calendar for event organization, previews of newsletters, and a "Save to Inbox" feature that lets users save links for later use.

Inbox by Gmail has received generally positive reviews. At its launch, it was called "minimalist and lovely, full of layers and easy to navigate". Its features were deemed helpful in finding the right messages, and one reviewer noted that the service "feels a lot like the future of email". However, it also received criticism, particularly for a low density of information, algorithms that need tweaking, and that the service requires users to "give up the control" on organizing their own email, meaning that "Anyone who already has a system for organizing their emails will likely find themselves fighting Google's system". Google noted in March 2016 that 10% of all replies on mobile originated from Inbox's Smart Reply feature.

In September 2018, Google announced it would end the service in March 2019. Google called Inbox "a great place to experiment with new ideas" and noted that many of those ideas had now migrated to Gmail. The company said that going forward, it wanted to focus its resources on a single email system.

List of Google April Fools' Day jokes

Google frequently inserts jokes and hoaxes into its products on April Fools' Day, which takes place on April 1.

Outline of Google

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Google:

Google – American multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products that include online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, software, and hardware.


Pheed, a patented mobile pay-per-view technology and social networking service that competed with Facebook, Twitter, and related sites.Founded by Internet entrepreneur OD Kobo and launched in November 2012, Pheed was aimed at a younger audience than Facebook's demographic. Pheed combined text, video, images and audio, and included a live broadcast option. Pheed provided a pay-per-view option, covering both individual elements (such as a video or audio event), or subscriptions to a full feed that can be scheduled for a specific time or day with a specific cost, and mobile applications through the Apple App Store and Google Play. The Pheeds could also be shared by Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail, and could be copyrighted, making them the user's property. They could also be kept on the user's wall without any other users seeing it. A user's friends could be invited through Facebook, Twitter, or Gmail.

Pheed was sold to American Movil, a company majority owned by Carlos Slim Helú, in March 2014 for $40 million. In April 2016, Pheed was shut down and the technology integrated to América Móvil platforms.


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